Feels like Autumn, Shetland August 2017

Down in the far south (and I mean England) there is this slightly daft idea that August is a Summer month.  The schools are shut, and it feels the main hazard in most workplaces is of being rolled over by passing tumbleweed. And the weather is usually rubbish.  August might still be sort of warm, but it’s wet with it.

Up in the North (and I mean Scotland) the school summer holidays are earlier (i.e. in the summer) and once you get to mid-August to kids are back at school and life is returning to what passes for normal.

This weekend on Shetland felt like the start of Autumn.

The weather switched from sun to rain and back. The wind changed direction and strength dramatically over three or four days. To add this sense of early Autumn, this is the Quiet Time on the bird cliffs.  A few weeks ago the cliffs were buzzing with puffins and guillemots, they’ve all gone now, and even the chattering fulmar don’t feel the need to raise their voices so much.  It’s also still a wee bit too early for the autumn migrants to start flooding the island.

Low cloud over Fitful Head

Scat Ness

West side of St Ninian's Isle

Clear to the Horizon, Fair Isle with Lady's Holm in the foreground

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse in the evening sunshine

One Summer tradition that seems to still be in full force around Shetland is the visiting orcas.  This summer has been a bumper one for orca around the Shetland coastline (and probably a pretty rubbish one if you are one of the resident seals).  There have been a couple of pods working the coast line quite regularly. This weekend we had a passing visit from Knott and Hulk.  These big male orca are regularly seen around Iceland, but this summer have been spotted around the Pentland Firth and Fair Isle.  I’ve been lucky enough to see orca in quite a few places, but I was starting to feel a bit narked that I’d not see them from Sumburgh Head before!  It’s hard not to say Wow, when you see how fast these animals can move through the water.

Knott and Hulk approaching

Knott passes Sumburgh at full speed

And if you want to see a few more picture from the weekend - they're on Flickr

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